Thousands of motorcycles will be on the road in the Okanagan Valley between July 18 and 22 to take part in the annual Sturgis North Festivities held primarily in Vernon.
The Kane’s Harley-Davidson dealership in Kelowna feels this event offers an excellent opportunity to raise awareness for motorcycle safety in the Okanagan.
The importance of that awareness hit home this past week as one motorcyclist was killed in an accident on KLO Road in Kelowna while another Kelowna motorcyclist was badly injured in another accident in Penticton.
“As the weather improves, more and more motorcyclists are hitting the roads,” said Blair Kane, of Kane’s Harley-Davidson. “And with that in mind, pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers of all vehicles need to be extra attentive and make sure they ‘share the road.
“A motorcycle is one of the smallest vehicles on our roads, often hidden in a car or truck’s blind spot. Every driver needs to aggressively look for them before changing lanes or merging with traffic.”
Motorcycle fatalities have been on an upward trend over the past 13 years, the lone exception being 2009.
Kane’s Harley-Davidson offered tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways:
• Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
• Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
• Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
• Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
• Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-cancelling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
• Allow more following distance— three or four seconds—when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to manoeuvre or stop in an emergency.
• Never tailgate as in dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
• Never drive while distracted.
Motorcyclists can increase their safety on the roads by:
• Avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.
• Wearing brightly colored protective gear and a DOT-compliant helmet.
• Using turn signals for every turn or lane change, even if the rider thinks no one will see it.
• Combining hand signals and turn signals to draw more attention to themselves.
• Using reflective tape and stickers.
• Positioning themselves in the lane where they will be most visible to other drivers.
• Never driving while impaired.
“Our message to all drivers and motorcyclists is help to share in the responsibility of keeping all road users safe, and do your part by safely sharing the road,” Kane said.